Heather Hill Lloyd (a.k.a. The Blue Mare) warned that Washington wouldn’t be a gimme with Colt McCoy at quarterback. Now that the Indianapolis Colts (8-4) have defeated the Redskins, she shared with Phillip B. Wilson her thoughts about a Sunday road trip to the Buckeye State to face the Cleveland Browns (7-5) at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Phil B: Some fans didn’t care for how the Colts defeated the Redskins while others rationalized ‘a win is a win.’ Where do you stand on Sunday’s 49-27 victory?
Heather: The Colts won the game and by a very healthy margin. Yeah, there were a lot of mistakes again. I feel like every time I turned around, there was a ball on the field that shouldn’t have been on the ground. But, again, we ended up playing a quarterback who is maybe not a franchise quarterback but he’s definitely a competent quarterback. Again, it just goes back to not taking your opponent lightly, being ready for whatever they’re going to throw at you because Colt McCoy gave the Colts a pretty good game.
Phil B: You had to like all the big plays. It was like video game football, kind of fun to watch?
Heather: It really was. It’s always fun to watch your offense go crazy, all those long throws. That long touchdown Coby Fleener had was a blast to watch. I don’t always notice the side stuff. I’m not like a watch-film type person. But I loved watching Donte Moncrief kind of come out of the back and get that great block for Fleener that allowed Fleener to get in the end zone. As much as we had some really great, fun, video-game type plays, it was still a great team effort.
Phil B: Now we go to Cleveland. I haven’t looked at the news yet, so I don’t know if the Browns have told us if Johnny Manziel will be the starting quarterback.
Heather: Literally just minutes ago, they declared the Brian Hoyer is going to be the starting quarterback.
Phil B: Are you bummed out? Did you want to see ‘Johnny Football?’
Heather: No, I’m not really bummed out because, honestly, my personal feelings on Johnny Manziel are that for him, I think coming to the NFL and sitting a season on the bench and having to earn his way in may actually be the best thing for him, for his mind-set and his attitude as he matures as an athlete. I think this was probably a good thing for him. For me, I want the Colts to play whichever quarterback that gives the Browns the least opportunity to win. Right now, I think that’s probably a toss-up between the two. For the Colts, it’s not so much for me whether Hoyer or Manziel starts. For me, I’d like to see Johnny Manziel on the bench and having to earn his way in.
Phil B: The history of quarterbacks in their first NFL starts isn’t usually good. I was kind of thinking Manziel would get his debut and the Colts could initiate him properly.
Heather: Yeah, truthfully, it may have been a more fun game to watch if Manziel was in there, but the fact that Brian Hoyer is struggling also makes me say, ‘Hey, let’s let him struggle another Sunday. We don’t need Manziel to come in and be a hero in his first start.’ More than anything, I want the Colts to clean up their mistakes, play a great game on both sides of the ball. I’m more concerned with that side of it than who the Browns start. Whomever the Browns start, they’re probably going to start someone else next season, probably another person after him and another person after him. I will say this, though, when you look at last week playing with RGIII standing on the sideline holding a clipboard, this week playing against Johnny Manziel, who will be sitting on the bench in Cleveland, it makes me more than anything grateful for the opportunity the Colts ended up with to get Andrew Luck (in 2012). If you look at the people around Luck, who were top quarterback draft picks in his year or another year, and you look at what’s out there right now and you look at Andrew Luck, you have to be grateful that the Colts had the opportunity they had, that they were able to grab Andrew Luck. Boy, when you look around him, there’s not much else out there that even comes close.
Phil B: So true. I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you about running back Trent Richardson. He’s going back to Cleveland. I don’t know. I’m kind of off the Trent Richardson bandwagon, if there ever was one.
Heather: Were you ever on it?
Phil B: I definitely don’t think there’s anything there worth keeping after this season. Colts coach Chuck Pagano says Trent has to keep chopping wood and all that stuff. I guess the coach has got no other choice but to play him, but where are you on Trent?
Heather: It’s so hard to watch a player struggle like that. It really is. I’m never going to kick a guy when he’s down. I know he’s working hard because the Colts say he’s working hard and his teammates say he’s working hard. That is the guy he is. I hate to see a player who just can’t get out there and make it happen, which he can’t right now. On the other hand, it also makes me think I don’t know how many seasons I felt like this, I lost track, I felt the same way about running back Donald Brown, season after season after season, then all of a sudden that one year we have to pull him out and then put him back in and he performs like a hero. I get the hard part is keep investing in someone or cut your ties and move on. Right now, truthfully, he’s not costing the Colts a lot of money. He’s a good blocker. I keep saying this, I wish they would do more, I like it when they use Trent Richardson and toss him the ball and let him run. He does that really well. At this point, they’re low on running backs clearly. Daniel “Boom” Herron, if he can hold onto the ball, has got a great future as a running back with the Colts. Trent Richardson has one more year on his contract, he’s not costing us a lot of money, I say just keep using him where he works. At certain point, it will be time to move on. They’ll know that. I don’t think right now, with games left in the regular season and with no one else coming up, it’s probably not the ideal time to do that. And I have to say even looking at next year, he’s costing them $3 million dollars, it’s the last year of his contract, I kind of figure they’ll stick with it and see maybe if next year will be the charm. But it’s hard. It’s hard to watch players struggle like that, isn’t it?
Phil B: Yes, it is.
Heather: And now he goes to Cleveland, against his old team, it would be a great place to have a hero-type game, that’s for sure.
Phil B: It’s an important game. There’s an outside chance the Colts could clinch the AFC South Division, but even if not a win makes it almost impossible for Houston to catch them. So in that respect, just a win is all that matters, right?
Heather: Jacksonville has to beat Houston, right? And the Colts have to beat the Browns? And that other game is in Houston, right?
Phil B: Yes.
Heather: Yeah, I don’t know what the chances are that Jacksonville will beat Houston, but all the Colts can do is go beat the Browns and hope it happens. I guess if it doesn’t, they have next week to wrap it up. I know it’s always the first thing they say that’s a goal, to win the division. Every game from here on out is going to be really important in terms of the playoffs. Like I said a couple weeks ago, every game starts to have more importance going forward, so yeah, this week they can wrap up goal No. 1. That is huge. The other huge thing is, again, as you get closer to the end of the season and closer to the playoffs, you definitely want to be playing your best football.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.